As Alvin Toffler predicted in his book ‘Revolutionary Wealth’, there is no doubt that convergence and combination are implicative terms that define the society in the 21st century. Particularly, energy problems caused by setback in power supply and demand are emerging as social and economic issues.
As the renewable energy industry faltered, frequency of using terms, such as ‘hybrid, trigeneration, energy mix, convergence and combination’, increased in courses of discussing new breakthroughs. And increase of interdependency in energy area became an important trend, constituting an important attribute that defines activities of experts.
Energy experts maintain no difference in direction that interdependency is increasing, but they show difference in perception, and they believe links that connect between different energies are weakened and they cannot achieve desired results. Accordingly, they believe they will be able to get over vulnerability of connecting links and obtain desired outcome when they reach clear consensus and share core value that defines the direction of ‘interdependency’ beforehand.
In case of wind power, interdependency (attribute of convergence and combination) between technologies within wind power generation systems has been low, but interdependency with other technology areas, such as connection with power systems and environment, has rather been fast increased as wind power generation systems rapidly expanded.
Namely, in the past when several hundred MW wind power generation systems were installed annually, the amount of power connected with electric power systems was so small that it did not affect power systems and it did not cause any problems in social acceptance because wind power facilities were installed for small number of demanders who desired to install such facilities.
But now regions and target demanders of wind power have to be expanded because over 45GW wind power generation facilities are installed a year, and cases of shelving or cancelling wind power generation facility projects are on the rise because their interdependency with power systems and stakeholders, such as regional residents and environmental groups, is increasing. We may say this situation is caused by lack of technological and social means of harmoniously keeping balance with power systems, environment and civil complaints, overwhelmed by benefits and advantages of wind power.
For saving energy at buildings, the government has been putting efforts to reduce energy consumption per unit area by tightening criteria for windows, doors and heat insulation, and these efforts produced some outcomes. Capacity and operation form of energy using equipments, however, should be changed to cope with changed patterns since energy demand patterns will be changed when energy consumption amount per unit area is reduced, and they should be optimized to improve efficiency.
But, since initiative in designing buildings has been excessively lopsided to construction and design segments, electric facilities and equipments have been designed based on conventional practice, and chances of reflecting building users’ demand have been limited. As a result, we could not gain energy conservation effect as desired.
And, interest in microgrid that includes solar photovoltaic power, wind power and energy storage systems is growing, and media are frequently pointing out various problems and technological issues.
These problems and issues are caused not by technological problems but by excessively designing and installing these facilities, ignoring the value of stabilized power supply and interdependency with renewable energy sources, such as solar photovoltaic power facilities that are already installed in distributed areas.
Although new attempt of convergence and combination in these areas may provide substantial value to final demanders and the entire value chain, it is very likely that such attempt may fail because chances of selecting by final demanders will be basically blocked if stakeholders in the value chain cannot share generated value in harmony and balance.
In this vein, we may say that it is the need of the times to raise interdependency through effort of seeking solution by integrating the value of ‘harmony and balance’ with seemingly antinomic and contradicting concepts, such as partial optimization and global optimization, and supply and distribution service.
Source : todayenergy